The EU’s economic war on Russia will cripple the European economy, warned Laszlo Kover
The Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, Laszlo Kover, condemned the EU economic sanctions against Russia as “false to the bottom”, predict economic devastation as a result. Kover, a longtime critic of the EU, added that Hungary’s success depended on cooperation with East and West.
Speaking in the Hungarian town of Bugac on Saturday, Kover used a Hungarian proverb to describe the EU’s decision to impose massive economic sanctions on Russia while continuing to rely on its energy exports.
“Brussels politicians were swinging their legs without a horse under them”, he told attendees of the Kurultaj festival, an annual event celebrating the nomadic horse-riding culture of the Eurasian and Turkish steppes. Kover added that the sanctions – imposed in seven successive rounds since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February – are “false to the bottom”, and will lead to the economic ruin of Europe.
Kover is a member of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, and Orban himself has expressed a similar view on Brussels’ sanctions policy. In a speech last month, Orban bluntly assessed that “sanctions do not destabilize Moscow” as expected. Instead, he remarked, “Europe is in trouble.”
The EU, which depends on Russia for around 40% of its gas and a third of its oil, is facing soaring energy costs and record inflation after imposing a partial ban on Russian oil and announced a gradual reduction in Russian gas imports. With several EU states imposing electricity rationing and the situation set to worsen as winter approaches, Hungary has managed to obtain an exemption from the oil embargo and has started talks with Moscow to increase its gas purchases from Russia.
This position made Hungary an exception in the EU, as did Orban’s insistence that NATO’s policy of arming Ukraine against Russia is a lost cause. The Hungarian prime minister responded to criticism earlier this month by saying that “Brussels is not our boss” and that the “independent and sovereign Hungarian nation” would work for “to prevent” EU policies that are not in its national interest.
As a member of the EU, Hungary is nevertheless a party to most of Brussels’ sanctions against Russia. Likewise, as a NATO country, Hungary would be bound to side with the US-led alliance if it engaged in open war with Russia.
In his speech on Saturday, Kover described Hungary’s history and geography as making the country a “bridge” between East and West. “When East and West clashed, it only brought decline”, he said. “But if they cooperated, it gave Hungary a chance to rise again.”